HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
HTS Overall Score:78
I’m going to borrow a line from my review of the last “Resident Evil” film. Think of the “Resident Evil” series as being a loaf of bread. With the first one or two slices, it’s nice, fresh and new. Everyone loves it. As time goes on those next few slices start to show their age, wilted corners and it gets a little tougher to swallow. By the time the 5th comes along, there’s some mold and it definitely leaves a stale taste in your mouth. That still holds true today considering that we’re wrapping up the 6-film franchise some 15 years after the first film came out. Honestly, I still really like the first three “Resident Evil” films (even the 2nd one), but that was where the really good films ended. “Afterlife” is a surprisingly DECENT film, even though it acts as filler to get us to “Retribution”, which is where the series fall off a steep cliff. “The Final Chapter” was SUPPOSED to have come out a year ago, but just days before heading off to film the movie, director Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich found out that she was pregnant, thus delaying the film another year. While I’m glad they have such dedication to finishing the franchise, the lack of steam and creativity that came from this entry (as well as “Retribution”) makes it a bit of a bittersweet experience.
You remember how we left off in “Retribution”? Alice (Milla Jovovich), Jill Valentine, Claire (Ali Larter), Wesker (Shawn Roberts), Ada Wong, and the rest staring out over a nearly destroyed Washington DC with Wesker offering them the opportunity to team up with him to wipe out the zombies? Yeah, well that whole scenario go scrapped and we’re left with nothing but a short monologue by Alice telling us that Wesker betrayed them, everything went south, and he only PRETENDED to give Alice her T-virus powers back. Now Alice is running, like usual, and is running out of options. Her salvation (and maybe doom) comes in the form of a message from the Red Queen (who’s actually Milla’s eldest daughter) who informs her that there has always been an antidote to the virus back at the HIVE in Raccoon City. If she can get there in the next 48 hours, Alice can unleash the antivirus and save the remaining humans before the Umbrella Corporation forces wipe out the last bastions of humanity.
Well, even if the Red Queen DID try to kill her last time, this antivirus is the ONLY chance humanity has, so what choice does Alice have but to buckle up and put on her big girl undies. Once arriving in Raccoon City, the beleaguered soldier finds out that there are still remnants of humanity struggling to survive in the nearly devastated ruins. There she finds a reluctant ally with Doc (Eoin Macken) and an old friend, Claire. Rounding up a team, Alice and her new allies head down into the HIVE once more to face a ravenous Dr. Isaacs (yes yes, clones and all that means bad guys never stay dead) and whatever forces the impenetrable HIVE have in store for them, bringing Alice’s journey back full circle.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=97074[/img]“The Final Chapter” actually has a pretty cool concept here. Alice finally has to go back to the beginning where her journey started 10 years ago (10 years in the films, 15 years in OUR timeline since the first “Resident Evil” was released back in 2002) and face the creators of the T-virus and the truth about their horrible plan to end all of humanity. The only problem is that the series had steadily been dropping downhill and the budget was obviously shrinking. They wanted to bring back Claire, Jill, Ada and the rest for that giant battel to save humanity, but the project was scrapped when the powers that be realized they couldn’t get everyone back together, especially with the budget that they had at their disposal. So now what we get is the framework of the original story mixed in with a new plot with the Red Queen and the results are decidedly “made for TV”. Everything feels cramped and constrained, like a made for TV movie that knows it can’t have more than a handful of set pieces otherwise they’ll blow the budget.
With that being said, the action is pretty intense and nonstop. Alice is a one woman wrecking crew and Paul Anderson did a great job using the budget to bring out some cool battles (such as the flaming gasoline that decimates Isaac’s army of zombies). The only thing is you can’t SEE any of it! For some reason, Anderson decided to edit the movie as if he was watching the film through a constantly changing kaleidoscope. There are a THOUSAND quick cuts per 10th of a second and the shifting was so fast, and so overbearing that I actually got a bit of a headache and some nausea wondering if I was watching a movie or a bad dream.
Rated R for sequences of violence throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=97082[/img]Shot on the Red Epic Dragon cameras with a 5K source and mastered in a full 4K Digital Intermediary, “The Final Chapter” comes home with a fetching 2.40:1 AVC encode. Fine detail is excellent and filled with all sorts of nuances. The only downside is that the film’s budget didn’t allow for the very BEST CGI, and there are instances where it definitely looks fake against the sharpness of the real-world objects. Milla still has a mildly soft filter to her face (although not as bad as the one in “Resident Evil Extinction”) to make her look a bit younger. Blacks levels are well done, with plenty of shadow detail and artifacts are kept to a bare minimum. The film has a very bleak and flat look, with lots of earthy tones and dusty beaten up old buildings with dim lighting. The primary colors come out here and there and DO pop a good bit, but they’re ensconced within this drab look for the rest of the film (which IS by design considering the end of the world is near). The encode may not be shiny and glossy, but it is very VERY capable of handling everything thrown at it and despite some minor flaws, looks fantastic.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=97090[/img]Sony has a history of putting the Atmos tracks on the 4K UHD, while relegating the Blu-ray discs with 5.1 DTS-HD MA tracks. Following suit with this release, the Atmos track IS on the 4K disc only, but the Blu-ray is given a slight upgrade from the usual 5.1 with a 7.1 DTS-HD MA track that is simply stellar. The “Resident Evil” series has always been known for loud, aggressive tracks that punish you mercilessly, and “The Final Chapter” brings home the bacon in that regards. Vocals are clean and well replicated in the front sound stage, and the two mains are alive with the constant barrage of music, roaring of zombies, and gun fire throughout the movie. The surrounds are just as active, bursting with all sorts of activity from tracer rounds bouncing off the pavement to the scratching and clawing of feet on cement floors while traversing the HIVE. LFE is deep and powerful, but I was surprised to find that it wasn’t so overwhelmingly hot this go around. “Retribution” and “Afterlife” had that sort of punishingly overcooked bass that make nerds like me squeal in glee, and while the bass is certainly loud and heavy, it just wasn’t as thunderous as I was expecting.
• Two Featurettes:
- "Explore the Hive"
- "The Trinity & The Women of Resident Evil"
• Retaliation Mode
• Sneak Peek: Resident Evil: Vendetta
• "Stunts & Weaponry" Featurette
Was “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” fun? Kind of. It had its problems, but I’ve enjoyed the entire series to a certain extent and while it’s the very weakest of the 6 films (even weaker than “Apocalypse” and “Retribution”), it’s still a fun enough popcorn movie if you check your brain at the door and just watch Alice kill bioweapons (well, if you can handle the bumpy ride of the quick cut editing). Sadly, the 4K and the Blu-ray don’t have the 3D version of the film that was seen in theaters (“Underworld: Blood Wars” had the same thing happen to the home video release), but the tech specs are amazing as usual. Worth a solid rental if you’ve enjoyed the series so far, and we KNOW fans will want to finish up the series.
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Iain Glain
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Written by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, French, Thai DD 5.1
Runtime: 107 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 16th, 2017
Buy Resident Evil: The Final Chapter On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Resident Evil: The Final Chapter On 4K Blu-ray at Amazon
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